Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


A 1964 favourite: Reed & Hemmings in Winner's THE SYSTEM
Michael Winner (1935-2013). His later bombastic restaurant critic persona and those "calm down dear" adverts were much derided, but for a while there in the early '60s he (like Schlesigner, Losey, Donner, Lester) had his finger on the pulse with those early films like WEST 11 and THE SYSTEM in 1964, also popular items like I'LL NEVER FORGET WHATS'ISNAME (like WEST 11 reviewed here recently, Oliver Reed label) in 1967, THE JOKERS etc. Maybe now we will be able to get to see his THE GAMES from 1970. He certainly employed the likes of Oliver Reed, Michael Crawford and the young David Hemmings several times. The later films though like the Bronson revenge thrillers and those quite unnescessary remakes of THE BIG SLEEP and THE WICKED LADY are best forgotten, along with disasters like WON TON TON and THE SENTINEL. He was amusing to read on his friendships with the big names he directed like Brando, Welles and Loren. I was in Brighton in 1993 when he was directing DIRTY WEEKEND there, with whole streets cordoned off. He was striding up and down outside the restaurant where we were eating, like a typical movie director from central casting. I will soon be having a look at his 1970 thriller SCORPIO with that good cast of Lancaster, Delon and Scofield ... some of his westerns got good reviews too. Certainly a British original from his early '60s days of low budget pop movies, like Billy Fury and Helen Shapiro in PLAY IT COOL in 1962. 

Dear Abbey.  Abigail Van Buren, who has died aged 94, created the modern advice column that became a staple of post-war newspapers and magazines, dispensing homespun words of wit and wisdom to the lovelorn, sexually confused, troubled, deluded, disturbed, dazed or desperate — anyone, in fact, with enough gumption and courage to sit down and write publicly to “Dear Abby”. Abigail Van Buren’s stock-in-trade was her robust, juicy, pithy and often tart manner with her correspondents - I remember enjoying a paperback of her replies when I was a teenager ...

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